A self-described negociant, Cameron Hughes gathers up wine from around the globe and sells it under his own, numerically-identified labels (now up to 240 lots). As Hughes himself said in an event I attended today, he’ll bottle and sell anything as long as he loves it — typically at a price under $20 a bottle and largely sold direct through his website.
Today we tried six wines that, presumably, Hughes loves.
2009 Cameron Hughes Lot 151 Columbia Valley – Riesling 70% Chenin Blanc 30% – A smart Washington blend, zippy but balanced between these two grape elements. A perfect pre-dinner wine. A- / $10
2007 Cameron Hughes Lot 161 Sonoma County – Cabernet Sauvignon 60%, Cabernet Franc 30%, Merlot 10% – Much more fruit than you’d think. Big and plum-filled, with oak coming up the rear. Surprisingly easygoing, and an amazing value. A- / $10
2007 Cameron Hughes Lot 172 Cabernet Sauvignon Atlas Peak Napa Valley – Quite a bargain for an Atlas Peak wine ($85 under its old owner). Has a small amount of blending grapes, including Petit Verdot, Merlot, and Syrah. Big and burly. Your typical steak wine, and quite a bargain. Needs time in bottle to mellow out. B+ / $22
2007 Cameron Hughes Lot 175 Merlot Napa Valley – Formerly Havens Merlot, now part of Cameron Hughes, which CH bought when the company went under. The same wine as Lot 169, incidentally. Lush and full of life, but with depth and a pleasant earthiness. Quite lovely. A- / $13
2008 Cameron Hughes Lot 176 Pinot Noir Los Carneros – 95% Pinot, with a touch of Syrah and Tempranillo. Very clear Pinot character, bright fruit with a hint of earth. A- / $14
2007 Cameron Hughes Lot 179 Napa Valley – Cabernet Sauvignon 50%, Syrah 50% – Another Havens cast-off. Huge earth notes on the nose. Dry and a little chalky. Tough. Requires too much work. Hughes’ favorite, but my least. B / $NA